Roberto Ovelar (middle) celebrates his winner for Catolica against O'Higgins (image: La Cuarta)
Rangers 2-0 Palestino
Rangers put an end to a horrible sequence of results which saw them lose four on the bounce to over come a Palestino side that enjoyed large quantities of possession but lacked the cutting edge in the final third.
Both teams began the game with early long range testers. Palestino’s Nicolás Canales saw his shot from the edge of the box fly past the right-hand post. Mauricio Goméz went even closer moments later. Dropping off the front he turned with the ball and under little pressure unleashed a stinging effort from close on 30 yards which was acrobatically saved by Felipe Núñez.
Both Goméz and Núñez would be involved in the goal that broke the deadlock. A long clearance (hoof) from defence sailed over the Palestino backline enticing the goalkeeper to advance from goal in an attempt to head the ball clear but ended up jumping into his own defender, the ball hitting off his shoulder and bouncing into the path of Goméz 25-yards out. The rangy striker took the chance first time and lofted the ball into the empty net.
Goméz and Núñez were the main protagonists in the encounter, the goalkeeper blocking the striker’s shot before the tricky Cristian Maidana set up Milton Caraglio with some dazzling wing play but the number nine skewed his shot off a defender and wide.
Palestino were unable to conjure up goal scoring chances despite their possession. Too often they were too slow to work the ball quicker into Canales and Diego Chaves. Although they appeared to have scored early in the second half when Chaves arrowed a shot into the bottom corner from the edge of the box but a consultation between referee and linesman resulted in a free-kick to Rangers on the touchline. For what, I have no idea.
With Palestino leaving three at the back Rangers took advantage with the last kick off the ball. Great interplay allowed Goméz to release Lucas Ojeda down the right and Ojeda returned the favour, rolling a pass perfectly into the striker’s path to slide home.
Universidad de Concepción 3-1 Cobreloa
After a positive start to the season Nelson Acosta’s Cobreloa have now lost two and drawn one in their last three games after falling to Universidad de Concepción.
The only moment of note in the first half was when Sebastian Villegas was shown a straight red card for an apparent kick out at a Concepción player. However it looked nothing more than a flick of the boot. Yet it only took them six second half minutes to open the scoring. Cobreloa goalkeeper Luciano Palos fumbled Gabriel Vargas’ through ball and Pedro Muñoz was on hand to lift in from six yards.
Los Mineros were level only three minute later; Cristain Canio curling in a wonderful free-kick from 25 yards.
However the extra man proved crucial as José Jimenez stood up a cross for Claudio Guerra to head, unmarked, into the top corner. The win was sealed in injury time as Jimenez again tore past his marker to set-up Vargas who scored at the second attempt.
Audax Italiano 0-6 Universidad de Chile
It is clear that Jorge Sampaoli and his Universidad de Chile do not like people asking questions of them or even stealing their thunder. Since the start of the Apertura and Copa Libertadores they have had to listen to everyone compare the team to that of the Copa Sudamericana winning team; a change of three players. They have also witnessed Santiago Wanderers, Cobreloa and O’Higgins all sit at the summit of the Apertura.
But there is no keeping La U down. Another week, another fine performance. Forget five star performances. La U are all about rising to the next level.
They got the scoring started after only six minutes in La Florida against a hapless Audax Italiano; Matías Rodríguez heading in a Charles Aránguiz corner. Eleven minutes later and Rodríguez doubled his and Los Azules tally with another header. Rising at the back post unchecked to head Gustavo Lorenzetti’s clipped cross past Alejandro Sánchez.
Los Tanos were able to keep La U quiet for just under half an hour before Junior Fernándes wriggled free in the box and thrashed a low cross across the six yard box, taking out Sánchez and his defence for Eugenio Mena to control and fire into the empty net.
Ten minutes into the second half an El Chuncho were at it again. Aránguiz played a lovely disguised pass to meet the run of Rodríguez through the flat backline and the full-back easily completed his hat-trick. By this time La U were more than enjoying themselves, the confidence in their quick, high-tempo passing returning. Mena played a pass into Lorenzetti who deceivably turned the ball ‘round the corner’ for Fernándes to run onto a finish cutely over Sánchez.
Number six, to complete the rout, was added three minutes from time through Peruvian Raúl Ruidíaz. A confident finish into the top corner after La U had played their way from left to right, through a fed-up Audax defence.
Universidad de Chile are now back on top. Out in front on their own.
O’Higgins 1-2 Universidad Católica
The match-up of the weekend was arguably table topping O’Higgins hosting Universidad Católica who, like most teams, are still striving for a level of consistency which has led to criticisms of coach Mario Lepe.
However it was the good side of Católica that turned up in Rancagua to win late on against the surprise early place setters.
UC went in front after 12 minutes through the ever impressive Felipe Gutiérrez who was stationed behind Roberto Ovelar in an attacking trident that also featured the returning Nicólas Trecco. A long ball was flicked on by the Paraguayan striker, Ovelar, to Gutiérrez who played a quick one two with Michael Ríos in a tight space on the edge of the box before cutting inside the defender and making an awkward chance look simple by clipping the ball inside the far post.
O’Higgins showed mere glimpses of threat in the first half as they struggled to cope with UC, not helped by the lack of defensive midfielder protecting the back four in a 4-3-3. This meant there were a number of shots, unpressurised, from outside the area for Católica with Luis Marín having to be alert on more than one occasion.
A much improved O’Higgins came out for the second half and produced football that was akin to a team at the top of the league. More pressure in the Cató half kept the ball away from their goal and they equalised through Enzo Gutiérrez has he got across his marker Cristian Álvarez to nod in Yerko Opazo’s cross at the near post.
It was Gutiérrez who had O’Higgins best chance to collect all three points. The skilled Guillermo Suárez duck and dove on the left to create space for a cross that was dummied by Gutiérrez for Boris Sagredo to curl an effort off the inside of the post and Gutiérrez could only blaze the rebound over the bar.
With game heading for a draw UC highlighted the quality they possess as Ovelar again was the focal point for a quick, precise move. Francisco Silva fired a ball into the feet of Ovelar before receiving a return pass, only to give it back to Ovelar who emphatically thundered the late winner.
The three points mean Los Cruzados hop above O’Higgins to occupy second spot behind rivals Universidad de Chile.
Colo Colo 0-2 Deportes La Serena
The final game of the weekend was one to forget for Ivo Basay and all connected with Colo Colo. Not for the first time this season Los Albos looked toothless in attack, lifeless in midfield and helpless in defence. And once again they were booed from the field by fans who called for the resignation of President Hernán Levy.
Six minutes from half-time La Serena caught Colo Colo on the break, Mauricio Salazar running clear of the defence’s high line and squaring to Eduardo Rubio to put Los Papayeros into the lead.
Colo Colo rarely threatened, not even with Rodrigo Millar back in the team. They were devoid of inspiration and La Serena were comfortable defending deep and keeping the home side out while maintaining a threat on the break, constantly troubling the week underbelly of Los Albos.
Even when Colo Colo fathomed a chance Rainer Wirth was on hand to deny them. Miguel ‘El Mago’ González tried his luck from range forcing Wirth to parry but the goalkeeper reacted in time to make a crucial intervention as Esteban Paredes pounced to level the score.
La Serena then painfully massaged salt into the gaping Colo Colo wound scoring a second late on. Once again it was Rubio. And once again it was on the break. The former Basel forward had looked dangerous all night; nut-megging Chilean international Pablo Contreras before bamboozling Christian Vilches and firing into the bottom corner past Francisco Prieto.
Despite speculation Basay has been assured of his position. At least for just now. However with his side now in 11th place a defeat at the weekend to Cobreloa and El Cacique may well be looking for a new boss.
Huachipato surprisingly came from behind at Unión Española to win 3-1. Emmanuel Herrera had given La Furia Roja and early lead but Manuel Villalobos levelled and Gabriel Sandoval and Bryan Rodríguez won the game in the second half moving the victors above their opponents in the standings. Unión La Calera and Unión San Felipe played out a goalless draw in Saturday’s late game.
In the midday kick-off on Sunday Paraguayan José Portillo scored the only goal of the game to give Antofagasta a narrow win over Santiago Wanderers. And finally despite a change of manager Cobresal continue their miserable start to the season. Edson Puch and Cristian Bogado both scored doubles to give Deportes Iquique an assured victory. The Dragones Celestes move to 4th after the win.